Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

Indian government has lost an arbitration case in Permanent Court of Arbitration, to energy giant Cairn Plc over the retrospective taxation, India has to pay damages worth Rs 8,842 crore ($1.2 billion) to the UK firm.

This was a Second such case in which India lost with respect to retrospective taxation after the arbitration case of Vodafone Plc.

There are three major Judicial organizations in the world. The major difference between them is listed in the table below.

Topic ICJ (International Court of Justice) ICC (International Criminal Court) PCA (Permanent Court of Arbitration)
Established under Established under UN Charter 1945 (which also established UNSC) to act as a principal Judicial organ of UN Setup under Rome Statute in 1998  Established by the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded at The Hague in 1899 and the convention revised in second Hague Peace Conference in 1907.
Head Quarters Hague, The Netherland

(Only principal UN organ not located on New York)

Hague, The Netherland Hague, The Netherland
Membership Members of UN automatically becomes the member of ICJ The nations have to sign and ratify the Rome Statute to become the member of ICC The nations have to sign and ratify the any one of the above conventions to become a member of PCA
Capacity Civil court Criminal Court Arbitration tribunal
Area of function  ICJ Settles legal disputes between Nations only. ICJ settle disputes on issues of Sovereignty, trade, treaty violations and interpretations, etc. ICC Tries Individual only for the crimes like Genocide, war crimes, crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity. PCA settles disputes between member states, International organizations or private parties like territorial and maritime disputes, sovereignty, human rights, International investments and regional trade etc.
Jurisdiction ·         Once the country accepts UN intervention then the judgement is binding.

·         Judgments given in contentious cases between states are also binding in nature

·         Court also gives advisory opinions to the Council, the General Assembly and other authorized bodies on legal questions referred to it by these entities

·         Co-operation of non-party state is voluntary.

·         If the case is referred by UNSC then the judgement is binding on all UN members

Rulings are binding in nature. But the PCA has no powers to enforce the rulings.
Relationship with UN Not Applicable (Principal Judicial organ of UN) Observer Status in UN Observer Status in UN
Members 15 members elected for 9 years.

·         To get elected candidate has to get absolute majority in UNGA and UNSC

·         5 Judges are elected for 3 year once

·         No two Judges can be from same nationality

·         Members can be re-elected

18 judges elected among member countries No sitting judges for the organization. Parties select their arbitrators
Specialty As it is the UN principal judicial organ it is called as “world court” Worlds first Permanent Criminal Court.

The ICC is a court of last resort. It acts essentially as a safety net when national courts are unable to prosecute, either because the criminal justice system is unequipped or collapsed, or because the perpetrators continue to wield influence over the government

First permanent intergovernmental organization to provide arbitration
Membership of India India is a member of UN so India is a member of ICJ also.

Indian Judge Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected in 2018.


India is not a signatory to Rome Statute India is member of PCA. India ratified the 1899 convention in 1950.
Few important cases related to India ·         The Kulbhushan Jadhav case – India approached ICJ against Pakistan denying India, its right of consular access to Jadhav that is in violation of the Vienna Convention. ICJ ruled Pakistan to provide access and to review the sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav.

·         Right of Passage over Indian Territory (Portugal v. India) 1954 – Provided then Portugese territories Dadra and Nagar-Aveli the right to passage but the right did not extend to armed forces, armed police, arms and ammunition

Not applicable as the Jurisdiction is limited to individual ·         Enrica Lexie case – A dispute about a shooting by two Italian marines off the western coast of India. The Tribunal ruled Italy to compensate India.

·         The Bangladesh v. India (Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary) case – tribunal awarded Bangladesh 19,467 sq. km of the 25,602 sq. km sea area of the Bay of Bengal. India accepted the terms.

·         The recent Cairn Plc case and Vodafone Plc case – India lost both the cases and asked to pay compensation.



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